A few weeks into her Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship’s Initiative on Impact Investing Consulting Practicum (CASE i3CP) experience, Vrinda Gupta, CASE i3 Fellow and Duke MBA class of 2021, began feeling that she and her MBA team were not just external consultants anymore. Working on a product that was constantly changing as it was being tested, and with the COVID-19 pandemic causing major disruption, Vrinda and the student team were brought onto the internal Slack channel of their client, Prime Coalition, and started working on tasks in addition to their project. This meaningful collaboration between CASE i3CP client and MBA team to solve some of the biggest challenges in impact investing is exactly why the experience is so valuable for clients and students alike – and why you should apply to be a 2020-2021 client.
“Our team’s diverse prior work experience really helped the client get a different lens and holistic perspective on the target user base for their new impact assessment tool and we were able to draw on our own professional connections in the industry for their insights, which was very helpful,” said Vrinda. “By the end of the experience, both the client and the i3CP team felt that we were essentially core members of their team, which really made the entire experience invaluable for us both.”
In addition to providing our students with real-world experience through this “experiential course,” CASE i3CP provides benefits for client organizations by offering extra capacity, outside perspective and the MBA mindset for applying rigor to organizational challenges.
As Sarah Kearney, Executive Director of Prime Coalition, said about the benefits of working with Gupta and her student team, “The Duke team collected and synthesized critical user feedback on an impact measurement and management software tool – CRANE – that aspires to simplify complex greenhouse gas emissions reduction calculations across a wide variety of industries and for a wide variety of users. Their insights were implemented during CRANE’s beta testing phase in real time, and in advance of the public launch of the tool during their spring semester. The students helped us speak the same language as our own users, better than we could have ourselves. We were deeply impressed with their work, and with their tenacity to deliver in a way that was meaningful to our development team and the project overall.”
In addition to Prime Coalition, last year’s clients included ECMC Group, Global Endowment Management, Rally Assets Inc., Soros Fund Management, Upaya Social Ventures and Y Analytics, and covered impact investing topics as vast as database requests to national regulatory questions. As an example, Kelly Gauthier, Managing Director and Partner for Rally Assets Inc. said the CASE i3CP team, “helped us to scope the U.S. market for impact investments, according to our Sustainable Development Goal-aligned themes.”
As we approach the 2020-2021 academic year, we are looking for clients to collaborate with our students and learn together to solve impact investing challenges. Learn more about how you could have 5-7 MBA students working remotely on your impact investing project and apply by September 30: bit.ly/i3cpinfo